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DeSoto Central’s Connar Gardner reacts as he reaches third base as part of a five-run rally by the Jaguars during Thursday’s MHSAA 6A playoff game against Warren Central. The Jaguars defeated the Vikings 5-3.  

Baseball playoff action continues this weekend, with two of the high school playoff series getting underway despite the threat of rain Thursday night.

DeSoto Central and Hernando started their MHSAA 6A second-round series against Warren Central and South Panola, respectfully.

The Jaguars held back Warren Central 5-3 Thursday in a game that included about a 45-minute rain delay. The victory gave the top-ranked Jags a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three slate that continued Friday night on the Vikings’ home field. A third game, if needed, would come back to DeSoto Central Saturday night at 7 p.m.

After Warren Central had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, DeSoto Central quickly answered with a five-run home half of the inning to take control of the contest.

“We want to score first and we didn’t have the opportunity to do that, but we also want to answer and this time of year it’s all about responding to adversity,” said DeSoto Central coach Mark Monaghan.

In the pitchers’ duel, five Jaguars hit safety and Warren Central’s Shane Lewis was the only batter to get more than one hit in the contest. Alex Frillman homered and Hunter French tripled for DeSoto Central. Mac Sims also hit a double for the Jaguars.

Winning pitcher Cade Smith threw six innings, gave up five hits and struck out seven. Losing pitcher Vantrel Reed also fanned seven in six innings of work.

Reliever Gabe Moore struggled in the seventh, however, and Will Logsdon came in and finished the game with the final two outs, including a called strikeout to end the contest.

The other DeSoto County team in action Thursday night was the Hernando Tigers, which traveled to Batesville and South Panola for game one of their second round playoff best-of-three series. In what turned out to be quite a pitchers’ battle, the game was settled in the bottom of the eighth inning when a wild pitch brought in the winning run in a 1-0 victory for South Panola.

Hernando held South Panola to just two hits in the game and Kylan Stepter had two hits for the visitors. Dalton Kendrick struck out eight South Panola batters in seven innings pitched.

Game two of the series was played in Hernando Friday and, if needed, a third game comes back to South Panola to decide the series on Saturday.

RAIN DOUSES 5A PLAYOFFS: All three DeSoto County teams playing in the 5A second round had their first games called off on Thursday night, pushing the series back to a Friday-Saturday-Monday affair.

Lewisburg and Germantown (Madison) met Friday at Lewisburg to open their series with game two being played Saturday at Germantown. If a third game is needed, it would come back to Lewisburg on Monday night at 7 p.m.

Olive Branch opened its series at Ridgeland Friday night and will host the Titans Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. A third game, if needed, would go back to Ridgeland Monday night at 7 p.m.

Center Hill headed to Lafayette Friday for the Mustangs’ first game of their series and will host the Commodores Saturday at 6 p.m. with a possible game three sent back to Lafayette Monday, if needed.

SOFTBALL ACTION CONTINUES: Playoff action continues this weekend in MHSAA 6A, as Hernando and defending state champion DeSoto Central remain in the running.

Hernando this week swept by Tupelo to face Northwest Rankin in the next round, which started at Northwest Rankin Friday night. The series continues in Hernando on Saturday.

DeSoto Central had little trouble with a two-game shutout sweep of Warren Central in their first playoff series action and now plays Madison Central in the next round. It started at Madison Central Friday and continues Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at DeSoto Central.

WORSHAM TO LEAD LADY MUSTANGS: Center Hill High School introduced Ryan Worsham as its new girls’ soccer coach Friday morning, replacing David Burgess, who is leaving the program. Worsham comes to Center Hill from Pearl High School, where he was assistant boys’ coach. His hiring still needs school board approval.

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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